COPYCAT PANDA EXPRESS ORANGE CHICKEN. made healthy.
Crispy, oven baked tofu tossed in a thick, sticky, citrus sauce made from a handful of healthy ingredients. This homemade Orange Tofu recipe is inspired by the popular Panda Express dish, but doesn’t compromise your health goals. My copycat version is a lighter and healthier alternative for both vegans and those looking for healthy dinner options for the entire family. Ready in under an hour, this better than takeout Orange Tofu makes eating healthy a breeze.
How to Make Healthy Orange Tofu:
Orange Tofu Ingredients:
Growing up, I was addicted to Panda Express’s Orange Chicken. In 2022, Panda Express made my dreams come true by adding a plant-based version to their menu utilizing Beyond Chicken. Fast forward a year to Panda Express having removed the delicious tangy dish from their menu, despite it’s popularity! But fear not, my copycat recipe has all the same sweet and savory flavors you love while prioritizing simple, healthy ingredients. Now, I like mine better than the original!
Here are all of the ingredients used in this healthy Orange Tofu recipe:
- High Protein Tofu.
- Vegetable Broth.
- Rice Vinegar.
- Sherry Vinegar.
- Corn Starch.
- Coconut Sugar.
Helpful Tips for Making the Best Orange Tofu:
Tofu is an important staple in any plant-based diet. Once you master it, you will witness it’s magical shapeshifting ability to transform into whatever you want it to be – chicken, beef, eggs, fish fillet, the list goes on! Here are some tips to make the absolute best orange tofu possible:
- To get the best result, use high protein tofu, aka super firm tofu. Not only does it pack in more protein than softer tofus, it really takes on the texture of chicken.
- Rather than cube your tofu with a knife, use your hands to break it into chunks. It’ll add more dimension and better resemble chicken.
- For ultra crispy tofu, air fry it. I made mine in Our Place’s WONDER OVEN and it came out perfectly crispy. Though the oven does produce a crispy tofu as well!
Confused? Here are some frequently asked questions:
1. Is Orange Tofu high in protein?
Yes! Make sure to use high protein (aka super firm) tofu to get as much protein as possible. This recipe makes 4 smaller portions or 2 medium/larger portions. If your priority is protein, go for the larger portion which packs in 40+ grams of protein.
2. Is Orange Tofu safe for kids?
This recipe is healthy for the entire family! Tofu is a complete protein meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. Of course this recipe isn’t safe for babies or young toddlers as it has a lot of flavor, but it is totally okay for kids.
3. Who invented Orange Chicken?
Believe it or not, orange chicken was invented by Panda Express! After a trip to Hawaii, the founder had the idea to fuse orange citrus flavors with an American favorite, fried chicken. Though, it is quite similar to General Tso’s chicken which is a Taiwanese dish.
Healthy Orange Tofu
- 1 block High Protein Tofu Firm tofu also works well
- 1 tbsp Avocado Oil
- 2 tbsp Tamari
- 2 tbsp Corn Starch
- 1/2 inch Ginger Root, peeled and minced
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup Vegetable Broth
- 1/4 cup Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice Juice from about 2 large oranges
- 1 tsp Orange Zest From about 1 large orange
- 2 tbsp Rice Vinegar
- 1 tsp Sherry Vinegar
- 4 tbsp Coconut Sugar
- 1 tbsp Corn Starch
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
- 2 cups Cooked Jasmine Rice 1/2 cup per serving
- 2 cups Steamed Broccoli 1/2 cup per serving
- 2 tbsp Sesame Seeds 1/2 tbsp per portion
- 2 stalks Green Onion, chopped Divided between 4 portions
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Break apart tofu into bite sized pieces and toss in a bowl with the avocado oil, tamari, and corn starch. Arrange on the baking tray and bake for 30 minutes stirring once halfway through. Alternatively, you may bake in an air fryer, though keep an eye on it as the air fryer cooks faster.
- Meanwhile, combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and stir together. When the tofu is done, remove from oven and let cool.
- Heat a pan on medium heat and once hot (about a minute or 2) pour in the sauce. Whisk often until thickened. Add in the baked tofu and stir so all the pieces are evenly coated.
- Remove from heat and enjoy with rice, broccoli, green onion, and sesame seeds.
- Store any leftovers in a meal prep container and enjoy within 3-4 days.